1 in 4 disaster-hit children needs mental care

1 in 4 disaster-hit children needs mental care for problem behavior


via mainichi  (Japanese following)


One in four children who were of nursery school age when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck their homes in northeastern Japan needs medical care for their problematic behavior, a survey by a Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare study group has found.




The study team, headed by Tohoku University professor Shigeo Kure, attributed the children’s behavior — including violence and withdrawal — to the deaths of their friends, separation from their parents and the life experiences they have gone through in disaster-hit areas, calling for swift measures for children in need of mental support.

The research group was joined by the National Center for Child Health and Development, Fukushima Medical University, the Miyagi Child and Family Mental Health Center, the Iwate Medical University, and other institutions. Takeo Fujiwara, a researcher at the National Center for Child Health and Development, released the study results at a symposium in Sendai on Jan. 26.

The survey covered 178 children and their parents and guardians who had been enrolled in classes for 3- to 5-year-old children at nursery schools in the three prefectures on March 11, 2011, when the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami struck the region, and who agreed to be surveyed. They underwent questionnaires and interviews between September 2012 and June 2013.

The nursery schools were located in Miyako, Rikuzentakata and Otsuchi in Iwate Prefecture; Kesennuma in Miyagi Prefecture; and Fukushima, Iwaki, Minamisoma and Tomioka in Fukushima Prefecture. A similar survey was also conducted in Mie Prefecture, which was not directly affected by the 2011 quake disaster, for comparison.

The questionnaire employed the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), an internationally recognized method of identifying children’s problem behavior through numerical comparisons of their behavior, which has been used by administrations, schools and medical institutions in Japan. The children were also interviewed for their state of mind by child psychiatrists and clinical psychologists while being taken care of mentally. Children who were diagnosed as being likely to develop problem behavior were further grouped into whether they were in need of mental care based on doctors’ advice.

As a result, 25.9 percent of children in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures were diagnosed as being in need of medical care because of reasons including the loss of their friends to the disaster, partial collapse of their homes, witnessing the oncoming tsunami, and separation from their parents. In Mie Prefecture, only 8.5 percent of children — or one-third the figure in disaster-hit prefectures — were diagnosed as being in such need of medical care.

Specifically, children in disaster-hit regions suffered from dizziness, nausea, headaches, swearing and reticence, among other symptoms. If left as they were, they are likely to suffer from learning and development disorders, affecting their access to higher education and employment, according to experts.

It is rare for such small children to undergo a survey like this on the effects of natural disasters. Past similar surveys covered relatively older children in studying the relations between disasters and their mental problems.

Makiko Okuyama, a researcher at the National Center for Child Health and Development who took part in the survey, said, “The fact that so many children are in need of psychological care has surfaced for the first time through objective data. It is generally known that the number of children who are in need of care increases immediately after a quake-disaster, but the survey was conducted over 1 1/2 years after the 2011 quake-disaster — which is of particular concern. It is necessary to develop a system to support children in their local communities with the help of medical specialists and others.”

The study team will continue to conduct similar surveys on the same children over the next decade to keep track of their status.

January 27, 2014  (Mainichi Japan)



岩手、宮城、福島3県で東日本大震災当 時に保育園児だった子どもへの調査で、暴力や引きこもりなどの問題行動があり、精神的問題に関する医療的なケアが必要な子が4人に1人に達することが、厚 生労働省研究班(研究代表者=呉繁夫・東北大教授)の調査で分かった。友人の死や親子の分離、被災地での生活体験が原因と考えられる。サポートが行き届い ていない子も多いとみられ、専門家は早期の対応を求めている。


対象は、大震災が起きた2011年3月11日に、3県内の保育園の3〜5歳児クラスに在籍していた子 178人と保護者。アンケートと面接を、震災後1年半以降となる12年9月〜昨年6月にかけて実施した。保育園の所在地は▽岩手=宮古市、陸前高田市、大 槌町▽宮城=気仙沼市▽福島=福島市、いわき市、南相馬市、富岡町。比較する非被災地域として三重県で同様の調査を実施した。



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2 thoughts on “1 in 4 disaster-hit children needs mental care

  1. damchodronma

    affects the experience of stress, as well as growth, systemic regulation… Belarus
    1. A sharp increase in endocrine diseases in
    all Belarussian contaminated territories was observed
    some years after the catastrophe (Lomat’
    et al., 1996; Leonova and Astakhova, 1998; and
    many others). According to the State Register,
    in 1994 endocrine system morbidity reached
    4,851 per 100,000 (Antypova et al., 1995).
    2. Children from heavily contaminated territories
    had blood cortisol levels that were significantly
    lower than the norm. Cortisol is
    an adrenal hormone that is released under
    stress (Petrenko et al., 1993). In Gomel and
    Mogilev provinces, the levels of umbilical blood
    cortisol and estriol in areas having Cs-137
    contamination of less than 1–15 Ci/km2 were
    significantly higher than the level from heavily
    contaminated territories (15–40 Ci/km2;
    Danil’chik et al., 1996). Overtly healthy newborns
    in Gomel and Mogilev provinces had elevated
    cortisol levels where contamination was
    less than 15 Ci/km2 and decreased levels in
    heavily contaminated areas (Danil’chik et al.,
    1996). The number of children with impaired
    hormone secretion (cortisol, thyroxin, and progesterone)
    was significantly higher in heavily
    contaminated territories (Sharapov, 2001).
    3. Children from heavily contaminated territories
    had lower levels of testosterone, a hormone
    associated with physical development,
    with low levels linked to impaired reproductive
    function (Lyalykov et al., 1993).
    4. Many girls of pubertal age, 13 to 14
    years, from the contaminated territories with
    autoimmune thyroiditis had accelerated sexual
    development with significantly increased
    blood serum concentrations of gonadotropic
    hormones in the lutein phase of their menstrual
    cycles (Leonova, 2001).
    5. Children aged 10 to 14 years born to irradiated
    parents diagnosed from 1993 to 2003
    showed significantly more morbidity from goiter
    and thyroiditis (National Belarussian Report,
    6. In some areas where congenital diabetes
    had not been seen at all before the catastrophe,
    Yablokov: Nonmalignant Diseases after Chernobyl 79
    there were occurrences afterward and the number
    of cases has increased since 1986 (Marples,
    7. In Gomel and Minsk provinces the frequency
    off occurrence of Type-I diabetes rose
    significantly after the catastrophe, with the
    highest incidence in the most contaminated
    districts of Gomel Province (Borysevich and
    Poplyko, 2002).
    8. Six years after the catastrophe incidence of
    endocrine organ illnesses was threefold higher
    in the heavily contaminated territories (Shilko
    et al., 1993). Endocrine pathology was the number
    one illness diagnosed in a survey of more
    than 8,000 children in 1993–1994 in the Slavgorod District
    ofMogilev Province (Suslov et al.,
    9. Nine years after the catastrophe, endocrine
    organ morbidity among evacuees and
    in those from heavily contaminated territories
    was double that of the general population of
    Belarus (Matsko, 1999).
    10. Occurrence of Type-I diabetes increased
    significantly in all of Belarus after the catastrophe
    (Mokhort, 2003) and to an even greater
    degree in the heavily contaminated territories
    (Table 5.21).
    11. Among 1,026,046 nursing mothers examined,
    the incidence of diabetes was significantly
    higher in the women from territories
    with Cs-137 contamination above 1 Ci/km2
    (Busuet et al., 2002).
    12. At the time of delivery, women from
    more contaminated territories of Gomel and
    Vitebsk provinces had significantly higher
    concentrations of T4 and TCG hormones

    “Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment”
    by Alexey Yablokov, Vasily Nesterenko and Alexey Nesterenko
    NY Academy of Sciences, Volume 1181, 2009.
    5,000 Slavic language studies reviews, over 1,400 cited.
    hard copy now available at Greko Printing P:734.453.0341;

  2. damchodronma

    and profound damage to the brain and nervous system…
    5.8. Diseases of the Nervous
    System and the Sense Organs and
    Their Impact on Mental Health
    Thirty-plus years ago, the nervous system
    was considered the systemmost resistant to ionizing
    radiation, but this is apparently true only
    in respect to large doses (see, e.g., Gus’kova
    and Baisogolov, 1971). Accordingly, the report
    of the Chernobyl Forum (2005) attributed
    all neurological illnesses, increased levels of
    depression, and mental problems to posttraumatic
    stress (Havenaar, 1996; Havenaar
    et al., 1997a,b).
    Since the Chernobyl catastrophe it is
    clear that low doses and low dose rates of
    Yablokov: Nonmalignant Diseases after Chernobyl 105
    radiation have enormous impact on the fine
    structures of the nervous system, on higher nervous
    system activities, and ocular structures, as
    well as on neuropsychiatric disorders that are
    widespread in all the contaminated territories.
    There is a growing body of evidence supporting
    radiosensitivity of the brain (Nyagu and
    Loganovsky, 1998).
    Mental health assessment in the Former Soviet
    Union dealt primarily with mental disorders
    as recorded in the national healthcare
    system, not with data obtained from welldesigned
    psychiatric studies using standardized
    diagnostic procedures. Together with the ongoing
    changes in the way that the countries
    of the Former Soviet Union deal with psychiatric
    problems, this approach may have led to
    dramatic underestimation of mental disorders
    (Loganovsky, 2002). The first part of this section
    is devoted to the nervous system itself and
    the second to the sense organs.


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